The role and status of women in India traditionally were confined to the four walls and the family, however, it was treated a superior status by the community. Over the past decades, the status of women has been subjected to many changes. Our country has also witnessed a transition in the status of women with the inclusion of women in diverse fields and excelling in them equally to the so-called higher gender. From homemaking to administration, this transition period had women in the most intrinsic roles in all the fields including literature, science, finance, and astrophysics.
Women, however, were equally competent and intelligent as their men counterparts. They were talented enough in the respective roles of their organizations that even persuaded men to show themselves superior to women. Nevertheless, women were inclined to prove their might and change the perception of the society which once believed women were incapable of. Against all odds, women could achieve equal rights and roles as men giving a befitting reply to all those who questioned their credibility.
Here are few women heroes who were the first in their roles and designations in their respective fields.
Kiran Bedi – First Woman IPS officer
Kiran Bedi was India’s first woman to join the officer ranks of the Indian Police Service. She remained in service for 35 years before taking voluntary retirement in 2007 as Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development. Also named The Iron Lady, she was the first woman in uniform to lead the all-male contingent of the Delhi Police at the Republic Day Parade in 1975. She was also a social activist, former tennis player and politician who is the current Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
Priya Jhingan – First Woman to join the Indian Army
Many of us are aware that women were not allowed to join the Indian Army. It wasn’t until 1992 that, a young determined lady, sent a letter to the Chief of Army Staff, General Sunith Francis Rodrigues, demanding that the services should open a gate for women as well. She then became the Indian Army’s first female officer. Priya, the young and fierce lady, also being the daughter of a police officer, wanted to wear a uniform and serve the country from her tender age.
Chanda Kochhar – India’s First Female Bank CEO
Chanda Kochhar is the first woman to run a bank in India. She is the Managing Director and CEO of ICICI bank. She was ranked four in the Fortune magazine’s list of most powerful women in business outside the United States. She also became the first Indian woman to receive the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Award for Global Citizenship, joining the ranks of Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.
Indira Gandhi – First Female Prime Minister of India
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, the only child of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was so far the only female Prime Minister of India. She served as Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, making her the second-longest-serving Prime Minister after her father. She was an Indian stateswoman and central figure of the Indian National Congress in the 20th century.
Pratibha Patil – First Woman President of India
Pratibha Devisingh Patil, an Indian politician and a member of the Indian National Congress, is the only woman to hold the office. She also served as the Governor of Rajasthan from 2004 to 2007. She became the first woman Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces. She made history when she flew in fighter jet Sukhoi 30 MKI (SB 139) in Pune, becoming the first woman head of state to fly in a warplane at the age of 74.